Life was much easier when I entered the workforce forty years ago. College was fairly cheap and any degree could get you a good job. Many with high school degrees could have a middle class lifestyle working in a factory, often in jobs that required relatively little skill.
Now college is frightfully expensive and many majors are of no help in finding a job. Those manufacturing jobs are long gone. We are in the midst of a serious crisis. The low unemployment rate masks those who gave up looking, work part-time or in low paying service jobs. It could get a lot worse. We are losing our lead in technology. Our educational system is not turning out people with the skills needed to get a good job.
The big question is what we can do about it. There is only so much the government can do. People will have to do whatever it takes, whether it’s going back to school or be willing to move.
The Obama administration seemed to care little about jobs. He came into office in a time of economic crisis, threw money at the problem and then focused on what he wanted to do. He hated businesses and created unnecessary regulations. Blue-collar workers were ignored even demonized as “deplorables”.
Whatever you think of President Trump, you have to give him credit for talking about those who are affected. His solution is to expel illegal immigrants, get tough on trade, reduce regulations and cut corporate taxes. Most illegals have low paying jobs. Instead, I believe the focus should be on creating good jobs. Arbitrarily creating new tariffs and trying to put a wall around America will cause a trade war and damage the economy. Besides, studies show that 80% of lost manufacturing jobs were due to technology. Cutting regulations will help assuming it isn’t done in a haphazard manner. Giving every business a tax cut and hoping some of it will be used for expansion will have a limited effect.
So what should be done? I believe government at all levels should concentrate on three areas:
1. Helping businesses grow – Rather than a general business tax cut, there should be increased tax credits for companies that expand. Ineffective regulations should be eliminated. We should go to bat for companies that are being treated unfairly by other nations. Most important of all is to vastly increase assistance to small businesses. This is where most new jobs are created.
2. Technology – We are losing our technological superiority. I know someone in the laser business and he says that other countries are ahead of us. The loss of manufacturing jobs will pale in comparison to having the future Apples and Googles set up shop elsewhere. Government should work closely with universities and industries to stay on top.
3. Education – It does no good to create good jobs if the workers don’t have the skills to fill them. We need to rethink how we educate our young. If not, many will face a very bleak future.
While I enjoy getting senior discounts, I would gladly give them up if businesses would implement junior discounts. They are the ones that really need it.